Brenda Hoffman

Last Updated: April 02, 2001
Created on Sat, 31 Mar 2001

Hello to Everyone,

My name is Brenda Hoffman, I'm about to turn 36 years old this month (March 2001), have been reading about and experimenting with raw foods for over a year. I know to the core of my being that this is right and wonderful, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and that once I accomplish 100% raw living, I will help others do the same...something I really look forward to.

All our (my husband Jeff and I) bouts at being 100% or near have brought very good results. Too bad we fall back to bad eating off and on...and feel the pain and regret of it soon after. But ultimately I feel that this is part of the transition and something that will ultimately help us help others later on (understanding the difficulties).

Our goal is acquiring 200 acres next year. I know this will happen although we don't have a definite source of the money for it. We will gradually work our way to developing a sustainable life...lots of food trees, melons, other foods growing everywhere. We will build our own house (maybe with some help) out of eco-friendly material use alternative energy sources, along with many manual tools. I feel a need to exit the 'modern' way of living and look more towards ecological ways of living...such as:

...getting leftover wood and bricks from construction sites to build compost bins and dog houses and for landscaping, etc. etc. But to my family, I have become an big anti-waste pain in the hiney.

Jeff and I married January 2000 on a cruise ship (lots of waste on cruise ships, but lots of fresh fruit and Roatan was beautiful, not such a tourist trap as Cancun and Cozumel near the docks. In Roatan we snorkeled and kayaked and enjoyed the incredible peace and quiet of the shore while we were in the water. Out of the water, it was party time.

My son is 17 years since October 2000 and since the beginning it's basically just been me and him, with intermittant bad realtionships for me, horrible in some cases. My relationship with my parents was not real communicative growing up and I wanted things to be different for us, to be able to talk about everything, and that's the way it was for the most part. Lots of hugs and kisses. I talked with him alot, always explaining things he wanted to know, being truthful (except for Santa Claus), and never threatening him if he wasn't 'good', never telling him he was 'bad'. When he did something wrong, I simply explained the impacts of his actions (ok ok, sometimes I yelled), and he'd never do it again. Friends and family often told me I was blessed to have such a great kid, and while that's true, it also helps greatly to be open, honest, communicative, and firm. When he was little he would never litter, and would pick up stuff that his friends would throw to the ground, and once came in the house crying his eyes out because his friend stepped on a baby snail. He yelled at his friend for it then came inside and started crying about the poor baby snail. Although I had to secretly laugh about the incident (it was so cute and unusual), I was touched to have such a sweet, thoughtful little boy.

Well, things changed...I worked many hours and traveled on business...I had a 14 year career with a major airline until July 2000. In all those years, it was tough being both mother and father while being the good little corporate worker bee, but it was all toward making a better life for us, even though I finally realized our lives were passing me by and I didn't like what I did for a living and was usually very stressed, with little time for anything else. I've had health problems with heavy fatigue since I was in my early 20's, and I was finding it difficult to spend the majority of my time doing a job I dreaded, while trying to take the time and energy (and rest) required to really get healthy.

6 years ago we went vegetarian, and felt better...then on and off vegan (getting off the cheese is torture), but never went back to eggs or milk or fish, etc. just cheese off and on, and when eating mostly fruits and vegetables (even cooked veges), we did alot better mentally and physically, and sometimes we'd go through periods of being junk food veggies. Around 13 or 14 Nick started hanging out with friends alot more and around me alot less. I became very boring to him with all my talk of what's healthy and what's not. I knew this was typical for him to start pulling away, but he also began eating what his friends ate (except meat).. lots of processed and deep-fried foods and sodas and pizzas. He also began drinking and smoking cigarettes and weed. I couldn't convince him otherwise, and it caught up with him... he got extremely sick July 2000. I tried to help him get well at home since he appeared to simply have cold symptoms, then flu symptoms, and he'd get a little better, but then he took a turn for the worse. I started having images of losing him and my instincts said I better get him to a hospital, even though that's the last place we wanted to go for 'health' care. A CT scan showed severe damage to all his organs, he also had severe dehydration and lost weight. They rushed him to the childrens' hospital and put him in a drug-induced coma and on a respirator. A few days later after many blood tests they found it to be LeMierre's syndrome, a severe bacterial infection. After 2 long months in ICU and another month in physical rehab, he came home late October. Then early December his femur neck bone (top of leg) broke because infection (and drugs, I'm sure) weakened the bone and there was a chance the bone would completely die & need a hip replacement. They operated & put a metal plate and screws to hold his bone in place and put him in a body cast for 6 weeks.

A few days before Christmas, Nick got really sick and kept throwing up. He refused to take any more prescription drugs and could not tolerate anything other than fresh fruit juices. I then started searching the web and joining e-groups and discussion boards. I could barely sleep at night around that time and would get up several times through the night check if Nick was still breathing, because again I started having images of losing him. But thanks to all the wonderful support I started getting from people via egroups and discussion boards, everything started getting better. I put the story out in several places all in one night, frantic, hoping desperately that someone could help. When I woke the next morning and saw about a dozen responses, I was filled with hope. When I opened the first one and started reading the warm words of concern and encouragement, I started crying and couldn't stop for about 1/2 hour. Tears of joy for being in touch with people who understood illness is really about and cared about what he needed to truly heal. They understood what the drugs were doing to him, and what it takes to allow the body to heal. With the juices and trying out various tips, Nick started improving rapidly. A couple weeks later my mom commented after talking to him on the phone that he sounded the best he has since he got sick, sounded back to his old self. When he got the cast off, the doctor said the xray couldn't look better and said that whatever we are doing, to keep doing it cause it's working.

Now Nick is continuing to improve on his walking and endurance. He recently started using the cane most of the time instead of the walker, and he now does alot for himself and helps with preparing meals. He is determined never to return to his partying and junk eating ways. We have also spent so much time together since he came out of the coma, that our relationship has become closer again like it used to be. I am also seeing a transformation in him of going back to his original personality and humor. His face is happier and brighter than I've seen it in years and I'm happy to be here for him more this time. He is very happy to be off the sodas and cigarettes and the alcohol, and the majority of the junk foods, all of which almost killed him.

As for me and Jeff, we still struggle to get into and stay in good eating habits. Our refrigerator and pantry looks MUCH different than it ever did...mostly produce and dry goods from bulk bins. We are slowly but surely making changes for the better, and feel better everytime we do. I know we certainly wouldn't have come as far as we have if it weren't for so many people in the raw foods lifestyle on the discussion boards and egroups being so supportive and helpful. After writing down so many web site addresses relating to raw foods over a couple months time, I thought there needed to be a central place to contain all links relating to the raw diet and many typical related topics of interest. So, here it is, I hope you like it.

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